PITTSBURGH -- Prior to the start of an extremely rare series between two skippers who each have managed the other team -- Jim Tracy replaced Clint Hurdle at the Rockies' helm on May 29, 2009, and before that managed the Pirates in 2006-07 -- Hurdle was asked about the reunion with his former Colorado crew.Hurdle answered with a lot of thoughtful sentiments, but what he said didn't reveal as much about his special feelings for Colorado, as how long he took to say it. It turned into Hurdle's longest soliloquy of the year. For two-and-a-half uninterrupted minutes, he expressed admiration and gratitude for his big league home from 1997-2009. The last six-and-a-half years were as manager, highlighted by the memorable drive into the 2007 World Series. "I don't have a 'CR' tattoo anywhere, but part of my heart will always hold great affection and appreciation for the time I was able to have in Colorado," Hurdle said. "I continue to get a kick out of seeing that championship flag flying out in left field, to be a small part of something that brought so much joy to so many people." Hurdle paused to look over his left shoulder at the framed picture of Keli McGregor, the Rockies club president who passed away two years ago. Other than pictures of his family, it is the only picture on the shelves of his office. "There aren't many days that I don't think of Keli McGregor," Hurdle said, "as instrumental as anyone I've come across in the game to help me grow up and become a man."
Pirates, Rockies first to add 26th man
PITTSBURGH -- It may not exactly be time for Ron Blomberg to move over. Being the first designated hitter in history may have longer staying power in trivia lore than being the first 26th man on a doubleheader roster.However, from one type of DH to another, the Pirates and the Rockies will both be making history on Wednesday when each team adds an extra relief pitcher for their twin bill at PNC Park. The special one-day roster expansion was negotiated into the new Basic Agreement, allowing the addition of an extra player for doubleheaders. The only stipulation is that the twin bill be scheduled more than a day in advance, to guard against the home team, with typically closer Minor League affiliates, having an unfair extra-man advantage. Two prior doubleheaders this season were played on the days immediately following the postponements that caused them -- the Rangers at Detroit on Saturday, and the Giants at the Mets on Monday. Thus 26th men were not in play. The decision to postpone Monday night's game was made early in the afternoon. Wednesday's first game is scheduled to start at 12:35 p.m. "We have an opportunity to take advantage of a 26th player, and I'm sure we'll do that. It's a good idea," said Pirates manager Clint Hurdle. The 26th man does not have to be a pitcher. Clearly, however, that is the direction in which most teams will take this option. "It'll continue to be situation-specific. We briefly discussed adding a bat," said Pittsburgh GM Neal Huntington. "But it makes sense adding an arm. And it's not just for that [doubleheader] day; two games usually tax your staff for the next day, so an extra arm is very helpful."
Presley up to the task vs. Moyer
PITTSBURGH -- Alex Presley, the Pirates' 26-year-old leadoff batter, was asked prior to Tuesday night's game whether he'd ever had an official at-bat against a "father figure."The reference was to Presley leading off against Jamie Moyer, the 49-year-old Colorado left-hander. "No. Never have. Will let you know what it's like," said Presley, who is wont to bunt and sounded like he might put Moyer's reputation for athleticism to an early test. "I hear he moves around pretty well. We'll see," said Presley, smiling and obviously looking forward to the May-December confrontation.
So the Pirates have tied their '65 forebears' NL record of starting the season with 16 straight games of neither scoring nor allowing more than five runs. Some interesting comparisons between then and now:Through the 16, the 1965 Bucs had scored 38 and allowed 45 runs. The breakdown for today's Pirates is 35-48. Those '65 Bucs remained bad for a longer spell, then engineered a remarkable turnaround. They stood 9-24 on May 20, thereafter went on a 19-2 run to scale .500 by mid-June, and altogether won 81 of their final 129 games to finish with a 90-72 record. The winning run was scored by Nate McLouth -- who had gone in as a pinch-runner immediately after Garrett Jones had nearly been picked off second by Colorado pitcher Matt Belisle. "That didn't remind me to run for Jones, no," manager Clint Hurdle said with a weak smile. "I wanted to save Nate's bat. We had warned Jones that he'd try to pick him off, so he wasn't surprised. He just slipped a little [getting back to the base], to make it interesting." The Bucs' clutch hits were the big blows in Tuesday night's victory. Still, they were merely 4-for-16 with men in scoring position and, oddly, half of those hits did not result in scoring. Yamaico Navarro (in the sixth) and Jose Tabata (in the seventh) delivered singles with men on second who stopped at third. The Last Word: "Our offense isn't missing. Our picture is not on a milk carton yet." -- Clint Hurdle, finding yet another new way of answering the same question about the Bucs' slow-starting offense.
Tom Singer is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog Change for a Nickel. He can also be found on Twitter @Tom_Singer. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.